Once the capital of Moldova (from 1388 until 1565), Suceava is an excellent starting point for trips to the many historical, cultural and natural attractions travelers can enjoy in the Bucovina region. Suceava is also the gateway to visiting the Painted Monasteries of Bucovina.
The town has some noteworthy attractions of its own, including Saint George’s Church, a UNESCO World Heritage site, the Bucovina Ethnographic Museum, with its valuable folk costumes collection and traditional items exhibits, and Suceava’s main tourist site, the remains of the Princely Court.
Other sights in Suceava include the 14th century Mirauti Church, the Zamca Monastery and the Bucovina Village Museum, dedicated to the woodcraft, ethnography, history and folk art of the region. The Bucovina History Museum displays medieval armor, coins, weaponry, tools and ancient documents. Visit these archeological and historic gems before heading to the painted monasteries area.
The oldest church in Suceava, Mirauti Church was founded by Petru I Musat in 1375. Until 1522 it served as the Moldavian coronation church. It was here where Stephen the Great was crowned Prince of Moldavia in 1457 after receiving the bishop’s blessing. The church was restored between 1898 and 1901, preserving the original design.
Address: Dealul Cetatii
Open: Mon. – Sun. 8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. (summertime);
Mon. – Sun. 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. (wintertime)
Built by Petru Musat at the end of the 14th century, the fortress was later enlarged and strengthened by Alexandru cel Bun to hold off invading Ottoman Turks. Stephan the Great (1457 – 1504) added the moat, 105-foot-tall defensive walls, and defensive towers that enabled it to withstand the artillery of Mehmmed II, conqueror of Constantinople. The fortress was finally blown up by the Turks in 1675. Today, visitors can tour the remains of the impressive fortifications and take in a great view of the city.
Address: Str. Ciprian Porumbescu 5
One of the oldest buildings in Suceava, featuring thick stonewalls and vaulted ceilings, the inn served for a long time a favorite meeting point for the noble court as they returned from hunting in the thick forests of Suceava; hence its name, the Princely Inn. The ground floor dates from the beginning of the 17th century, while the second floor dates from the 19th century when it served as a hunting lodge during the period of Hapsburg rule. Today, the Princely Inn is home to the Bucovina Ethnographic Museum.
Saint George’s Church / The Monastery of Saint John the New
Address: Str. Ioan Voda Viteazul 2
Open: Mon. – Sun. 8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Built by Bogdan the 3rd and his son, Stefanita Voda, between 1514 and 1552 to serve as the Metropolitan Church of Moldavia, St. John the New Monastery is nowadays the seat of the Archbishop of Suceava and Radauti.
St. George Church houses the relics of Saint John the New, brought to Moldavia by Alexandru cel Bun in 1415. The relics are placed in a silver casket, richly decorated with scenes from the saint’s life. The outstanding exterior frescoes of the church, illustrating scenes from the Old and New Testament, were completed in 1534 during the reign of Petru Rares, a glorious time in the era of religious murals.
The style of St. George’s frescoes resembles those at Moldovita and Humor. Although only some parts of the Hymn of the Dead, the Tree of Jesse and the legend of the Prodigal Son can still be seen on the southern wall, the church is nonetheless impressive, especially due to its mosaic roof and belfry tower.
Zamca Monastic Complex
Located at the west end of town, this fine architectural complex was founded by Armenians exiled in Moldavia. The church dates from the 17th century.
According to an inscription, the bell-tower was built in 1606.
St. Dumitru Church
Address: Str. Stefan cel Mare 1
Built by Petru Rares between 1534 and 1535, this stone church displays some rather impressive dimensions. Its interior frescoes, dating from the 16th to 19th centuries, have recently been restored. The church serves as resting place for Bogdan, the son of Petru Rares, and a series of important Moldavian boyars.
One of the earliest sites of Jewish settlement in the region, Suceava was already home to an established community at the beginning of the 16th century. Some 18 synagogues and small Hasidic prayer rooms were in use before World War II, the majority of them taken down during the 1950s’ communist ‘urban renewal’ period. Only one synagogue still stands today, beautifully preserved, along with two Jewish cemeteries.
Impressive tombs from the late 19th and early 20th centuries can be seen in the newer Jewish Cemetery (located at Str. Parcului 6). The Old Jewish Cemetery (located on Str. Stefan Tomsa) with its elaborately carved tombs bearing traditional Jewish symbols, dates back to the 16th century, making it one of the oldest in Moldavia.
Address: Str. Dimitrie Onciul 7
Richly decorated on the interior with symbolic representations of the Tribes of Israel and views of Jerusalem, this is the only remaining synagogue still in use.
Suceava Jewish Community
Address: Str. Armeneasca 8
Telephone: (230) 213.084
Housed in the 16th century Princely Inn (Hanul Domnesc), the museum features a comprehensive collection of folk costumes, domestic tools, crafts and other traditional items from several regions of Bucovina.
Bucovina History Museum
Address: Str. Stefan cel Mare 33
Telephone: (230) 516.439
Open: Tue. – Sun. 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.; Closed Mon.
Medieval armor, coins, tools and ancient documents are on display at the museum. The Hall of the Throne is a re-creation of Stephen the Great’s court with furniture, weapons and costumes.
Located nearby the Royal Court, this open-air museum features a collection of 80 buildings representing the history and design of Bucovina’s rural architecture, including a small 18th century church from Vama and a typical water mill from Gura Humorului.
Location: 5 miles north of Suceava
Access: car, bus from Suceava
Nearest train stations: Darmanesti, Suceava
Built in 1487 and dedicated to the Holy Cross, the monastery of Patrauti is the oldest surviving religious site founded by Stephen the Great. Murals, dating from around 1550, can still be admired on the west façade. In 1775, soon after Bucovina was annexed to the Habsburg Empire, the monastery was turned into a parish church. Today, only the church and a wooden bell tower are still standing from the original monastic complex.
Location: 6 miles north of Suceava
Telephone: (230) 533.839
Access: car, bus from Suceava to Mitocu Dragorinei
Nearest train station: Suceava
Built between 1602 and 1609 in a rather austere style, the church’s exterior favored a practical stone façade rather than frescoes. Due to the increase in attacks by the Ottoman Turks, the religious architecture at the time was focused more on protection than decoration. The structure is impressive through its sheer size, featuring the tallest fortified walls in Bucovina. Visitors can choose to spend the night inside the walls of monastery.
The Painted Monasteries of Bucovina
Access: The easiest way to visit the Painted Monasteries is by car; a 30-minute drive (or less) separates one from another. Excursions and day trips are also available from Suceava and Gura Humorului.
Location: 20 miles northwest of Suceava
Access: car, bus (from Gura Humorului or Radauti)
Location: 25 miles west of Suceava
Access: car, bus, train
Location: 55 miles northwest of Suceava
Access: car, train (from Suceava to Vama, 1 1 hours, and from Vama to Vatra Moldovitei, 35min)
Location: 31 miles southeast of Suceava
Location: 31 miles northwest of Suceava
Access: car, bus (from Radauti)
Location: 20 miles west of Suceava
Access: car, bus (from Gura Humorului), 3 1-mile walk from Gura Humorului
Marginea Black Pottery Center
Location: 32 miles northwest of Suceava
Nearest train station: Radauti
Telephone: (744) 892538
The village of Marginea, located just 7 miles northeast of Sucevita Monastery, is renowned for the black clay pottery crafted here, said to preserve a centuries-old Gaeto-Dacian technique, passed on from generation to generation.
Location: 44 miles southwest of Suceava
Nearest train station: Campulung Moldovenesc
The small 14th century logging town of Campulung Moldovenesc offers good access to hiking trails in the Rarau Mountains during summertime, as well as cross-country ski trails in wintertime. Here, you can also visit the unusual Wooden Spoons Museum (Str. Gheorghe Popovici 3; Open Tue. – Sun. 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.; Admission Charge) as well as the Wood Carving Museum (Calea Transilvaniei 10; Open Tue. – Sun. 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.; Admission Charge).
Location: 49 miles west of Suceava
Nearest train station: Campulung Moldovenesc
The village, located just 6 miles west of Campulung Moldovenesc, is home to several woodcarving artisans and a workshop for painting icons on glass.
Vatra Dornei Resort
Location: 65 miles southwest of Suceava
Nearest train station: Vatra Dornei
A fashionable spa resort during Habsburg times, today Vatra Dornei is a year-round destination featuring spa treatments as well as summer and winter activities.
Location: 65 miles southeast of Suceava
Nearest train station: Cotnari
Telephone: (232) 730.296
Located in the small village of Cotnari, the Cotnari vineyards are famous for their delicious sweet white wines made of grapes rich in sugar and harvested in late autumn following the first frost. The quality of these wines relies on a combination of rich soil, the late harvest and the presence of a special mold (Botritis cinerea). The winery’s most popular wines include Francusa (dry), Catalina (semisweet) and the sweet, golden Grasa and Tamaioasa dessert wines. The most popular brand, “Grasa de Cotnari,” is an excellent white wine often referred to as the “golden nectar.”
Apart from wine tasting, visitors can tour Cotnari’s other attractions, such as cellars dating back to the time of Stephen the Great (1457-1504), where over 6 million liters of wine are aged in oaken barrels. The winemaking plant produces 4 to 6 million bottles a year and boasts a collection of more than 800,000 bottles.
Cotnari winery offers wine-tasting sessions and tours of the cellars and factory. Every year on September 14, wine connoisseurs celebrate the harvest here.
The city of Iasi
Location: 85 miles southeast of Suceava
Suceava Stefan cel Mare International Airport (SCV)
Telephone: (230) 529.999
The airport is located 9 miles from the city center.
Airlines with service to Suceava:Tarom
Direct flights from/to: Bucharest (OTP)
For flight schedules and fares please visit: www.tarom.ro
Suceava Main Bus Station (Autogara Suceava)
Address: Str. Vasile Alecsandri 2, Suceava
Daily domestic bus service from/to: Arad, Bacau, Botosani, Brasov, Bucharest, Campulung Moldovenesc, Constanta, Falticeni, Gura Humorului, Iasi, Piatra Neamt, Putna, Radauti, Siret, Solca, Timisoara, Vatra Dornei
The fastest route from Bucharest to Suceava is via E85: Bucuresti – Urziceni – Buzau – Focsani – Bacau – Roman – Falticeni – Suceava
The scenic route from Bucharest to Suceava is via E60 – E 578 – 12C – 15C:Bucuresti –Sinaia – Brasov – Miercurea Ciuc – Gheorghieni – Piatra Neamt – Targu Neamt – Suceava
The fastest route from Cluj Napoca to Suceava is via E 576 – E 58: Cluj Napoca – Bistrita – Vatra Dornei – Campulung Moldovenesc – Gura Humorului – Suceava
Suceava Station – Burdujeni (Gara Suceava)
Address: Str. Nicoale Iorga 7
Telephone: (230) 523.987
Suceava North Station – Itcani (Gara Suceava Nord)
Address: Str. Garii 8
Telephone: (230) 517.117
There are daily trains from/to Bacau, Brasov, Campulung Moldovenesc, Cluj, Constanta, Gura Humorului, Putna, Timisoara, Vatra Dornei, Vatra Moldovitei, and several other cities in Romania.
There is daily INTERCITY (Express) service from/to Bucharest (approximate travel time: 6 hours).
To check the latest train schedules for domestic routes, please visit the website of the Romanian Railways: www.cfrcalatori.ro
The site has complete information about domestic train schedules and fares.
Note: For departures from /to Bucharest, please select Bucuresti Nord.